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  • Watched Drifters episodes 8-10. Finally we're moving beyond the story contained in the three English translated manga volumes.

    Watched Nobunaga no Shinobi episode 9.

    Watched Long Riders 5-8. I'm not a fan of the new team jerseys. The design is too busy, and I think it features too much black.

    Watched WWW,Working episodes 5-6.

    Watched Natsume Gou episode 9.

    Finished off Haikyu season 3 episodes 7-10.

    Watched Kaiju Musume episode 11.

    Watched Stella no Mahou episodes 9-10.

    I learned by watching the first episode that 1971's Shin Skyers 5 is a shot-for-shot color remake of the 1967 series with periodic subtle revisions such as changing one henchman's character design to more closely match his co-workers, and updating a scene transition.

    Watched Fune wo Amu episodes 6-9. Episode 7 included a bit of ugliness that, despite being subtle, still felt just a bit unpleasant. Episode 8 makes up for it by injecting some overt humor.

    In two sittings I watched Girlish Number episodes 5-10.

    A sense of obligation caused me to watch the first episode of Lostorage incited Wixoss. The current show may be a new launch, but itís still the same story. Iím not a big proponent of card battle anime, and now Iím not even sure if I have more distaste for shounen card battle anime that definitively spell out every minute rule, or a show like Wixoss that doesnít bother to explain any of its rules, thereby leaving open the opportunity to introduce new plot twists whenever is necessary or convenient. Furthermore, based on what few rules are explained, if players can ďbattleĒ an unlimited number of times within 90 days, Iím not sure why everyone canít mathematically balance out matches in order to ensure that everyone reaches five wins before anyone reaches five losses.

    Watched the first episode of Pokemon Sun & Moon.

    Watched the first two episodes of Ameiro Cocoa in Hawaii.

    Watched Poco's Udon World episode 10.

    If youíll indulge me in some reactions to recent comics: Massimo Rosi & Stefano Cardoselli's Fisheye promotes itself as ďThe Truman Show meets Die Hard.Ē More accurately, it seems to aim to be a hybrid of Truman Show and Frank Millerís Hard Boiled, but it only half hits its mark. The reality TV satire is solid, if a bit unbelievable. However, despite the suggestion of intense graphic violence, the visual art actually pulls its punches to a frustrating degree. Aliens: Defiance issue 7 continues to impress, continuing to deliver a story far more thematically and atmospherically faithful to the spirit of Alien than the third or subsequent movies. WicDiv issue 24 is a rather brief transitional issue. The first issue of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra is a fun romp. Seven to Eternity issue 3 clearly reveals itself as a Lord of the Rings parallel. The first issue of writers Eric & Adrianne Palickiís No Angel feels just a bit forced. Itís fine, just lacking in the atmosphere that it seemingly wants to evoke. Monstress issue 8 is magnificent. Read the second issue of the highly silly Marvel murder mystery parody Deadpool: Too Soon? The second issue of Batman/TMNT Adventures is light on story but thankfully still doesnít feel especially childish. The third issue of Reborn continues to develop at a breakneck pace, creating the sensation that this miniseries is less storytelling and more story summarizing. Hillybilly issue 4 is fine, but Iím really starting to wish for deeper, more substantial multi-issue story arcs instead of a repetition of redundant one-and-done Rondel kills monster of the month issues. Green Valley issue 3 finally reveals an unexpected plot twist; however, itís one that immediately causes me to worry that the series is ultimately going to be just a one-trick pony. The first issue of Richard Corbenís Shadows on the Grave is a collection of quintessential Corben monochrome horror shorts. Itís with relief that I find the second issue of Jackboot & Ironheel suggests that itís not quite the ďKeepĒ homage that its first issue suggested it might be. The first two issues of writer Brian Azzarelloís Moonshine are entirely competent and fine, but like Robert Kirkmanís Outcast, the story mildly interests me rather than completely captivates me. The first issue of Damon Clark and Alyzia Zhernoís teen angst/supernatural thriller comic series The Circle looks and feels exactly like an after school TV special rendered as an adolescent readersí picture book. The first issue is strictly by-the-numbers with nothing to make it memorable. The zero issue of Dynamiteís Red Sonja volume 4 has a very jerky narrative development, but itís fairly nice looking, and the set-up of barbarian Red Sonja waking up in modern day New York City piques some curiosity. Caught up a bit on reading Clean Room issues 11-13. Also read Dark Knight III issues 5 & 6.

    Caught up to the current episode of Agents of SHIELD.

    A friend came by in the mood to re-watch Highlander, so I happily watched the film again for the third time this year.

    Watched the Seahawks crush the Panthers and the Colts crush the Jets. Watched the Chiefs beat the Raiders. Watched the Steelers beat the Bills. Watched the Patriots defeat the Ravens.
    Last edited by John; December 15th, 2016, 08:17 PM.


    • Watched Drifters episode 11.

      Watched an episode of PJ Berri no Mogumogu Munyamunya.

      Seemingly the best of the Detective Conan movies are those which revolve around the seriesí core conspiracy of the ďblack organization.Ē I think of movie 13 as the best of the theatrical installments, but episode 20, ďDarkest NightmareĒ is a strong competitor because itís suspenseful throughout and features an amazing lengthy opening car chase and a cataclysmic climax filled with exquisitely animated collateral damage. The opening car chase alone literally puts both Castle Cagliostro and anything in the Fast & Furious franchise to shame.

      Watched Crayon Shin-chan Gaiden episode 6

      Thanks to its theatrical orientation, the first short Chain Chronicle movie features several extended sequences of spectacular animation far more intricate than whatís typically seen in television or video anime. However, typical of short anime adaptations of video games, the narrative of the anime is only an excerpt of the larger game story.

      Watched the penultimate eleventh episode of Poco's Udon World. I've been bothered before and mentioned it, and I'm further bothered even more by this episode that treats Poco too much like a human child. Poco is a tanuki, yet his capacity for intelligence and memory seem greater than what a tanuki ought to have. Furthermore, Poco acts on instinct far less than a tanuki ought to. The earliest episodes in the series seemed relatively believable. But as the series as progressed Poco has increasingly become more human-like when every other aspect of the narrative suggests that he should still be just as much of a tanuki as he always was.

      Watched Long Riders episode 9.

      I feel a degree of sympathy for the third generation Star Wars franchise. When Force Awakens hit, too many critics lambasted the film for being too similar to its predecessors. Now, with Rogue One in wide release for less than 24 hours, Iíve already encountered multiple critical complaints attacking the film for being too different from the established Star Wars formula. I donít believe that a perfect median actually exists. I think the dissenting critics are wrong. Apart from some jerky pacing and a bit of weak editing during the filmís opening few minutes, Rogue One is every ounce the film it should be. The argument may be made that it depicts a story that didnít need to be told. But thatís a criticism for people that arenít Star Wars fans. For those who are, this film is an outstanding triumph. Compared to Episode IV, which is the only prior Star Wars film that this can legitimately be compared to since Episode IV is the only prior Star Wars film that introduces a completely new core cast, Rogue One provides at least as much unique characterization as A New Hope did. Granted, Rogue One contains less brevity, but fans have known since production on the film began that this was intended from the outset to be a gritty, grounded, dire war film about ethically ambiguous protagonists. To complain that the film isnít like a core ďepisodeĒ film is to completely miss the point of this prequel. Rogue One does a magnificent job of re-immersing viewers into the tactile alien world of A New Hope while subtly adding scope to the narrow perspective of the original film. Rogue One gives viewers a motley gang of diverse characters that have logically explained motivations and personalities, and all of them are characters that viewers can empathize with and care about if they choose to do so. The movie takes deliberate care to provide characterizations for the viewers willing to accept them, including Chirrutís mantra, Cassianís argument with Jyn, Bodhiís expressed desire to cleanse his conscience, and Jynís clear journey from runaway refuge to rebel insurgent. The movie also drops plenty of fan service including at least three brief character callback cameos, finally getting to see Y-Wings carry out their designed purpose as bombers, getting to see a droid in battle (that isnít one of the pitiful Trade Federation battle droids or a walking gun turret), and, to avoid spoilers, the ďboarding partyĒ attack scene. The film is a wonderful examination of how sacrifice and losing can ultimately be winning. The film is a tremendous resurrection of the fascinating epic space fantasy spectacle that so many of us grew up on. And the film is finally Star Wars ďgrown up,Ē a film still full of inspiring wonder and not lacking in inspiration, but a film, like the beloved Empire Strikes Back, that injects a healthy dose of realist cynicism to give the film dramatic weight. I have the utmost respect for director Gareth Evans and the filmís screenwriters for having the confidence and determination to give us a Star Wars film willing to challenge us a bit and not fall into the same easy and familiar path that Force Awakens took.

      Watched the Seahawks crush the Rams in an ugly Thursday night game.


      • Finished off Days episodes 17-24. While not the worst sports anime ever, it's far from the best sports anime I've ever watched.

        Watched Natsume Gou episodes 10 & 11.

        The "familiar pose" gag at the end of Dragon Ball Super episode 70 makes the whole episode worth it. Plenty of people love to criticize Dragon Ball for its extended fights. But episodes like "Super" episode 72 that end the fight too quickly feel just a poorly developed..

        Finished off Watched Stella no Mahou episodes 11-12. I like this show but wish its pacing wasn't so glacially slow.

        Girlish number episode 11 is interesting in the respect that it successfully manages its intent to try to make Chitose sympathetic while also being very blunt that her professional slump is her own fault.

        Watched Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara season 2 episodes 8-12. Episode 9 is particularly amusing, although I hope that in real life Japan a single small bottle of energy drink doesn't actually cost $50.

        Watched the fourth Nanatsu no Taizai OVA which definitively concludes the first TV series story arc and introduces the second TV series storyline.

        Watched Crayon Shin-chan Gaiden episodes 7-9.

        The Kekkai Sensen OVA is very fun.

        The first episode of 2006's Miracle Mimika feels like a show several years older than it actually is because it's rendered with very limited, early digital animation, making it more like digital manga than conventional anime. The show is a bishoujo cooking anime that distinctly feels like a predecessor to Cookin' Idol Ai! Mai! Main.

        Marathoned Brave Witches episodes 3-11 in two sittings.

        Drifters episode 12 concludes the first season in mid-story, without any sense of resolution or climax.

        The first episode of Koro-sensei Q! borrows the thematic concept of ToHeart Dungeon Travelers and applies the tone of Mahou Gakuen Lunar & Falcom Gakuen.

        I'm slightly crestfallen that Poco's Udon World doesn't quite conclude the way I anticipated, but I can't fault the ending because it is still a logical, believable ending.

        Having finished off Fune wo Amu episodes 10 & 11, I respect the show for its relative uniqueness. Itís a grounded, reality-based drama with all adult characters. But Iím also a bit disappointed that evidently the source material was very mainstream-oriented. The anime series depicts the final 15 years of the editorial process of compiling and publishing a modern Japanese language dictionary, but the eleven episode series redundantly emphasizes the motivation behind compiling the book and the bookís purpose while only rarely and superficially examining the practical and philosophical obstacles of the effort. A sequence in the anime detailing examination of the paper stock to be used for the dictionary is fascinating and memorable, but the show contains too few such scenes. The show references the difficulty of deciding which words to include and exclude but never provides illustration of the decision. The show references outside political or bias influence on the composition but only provides one minor example in eleven episodes. While the show clearly has the opportunity to reveal the fascinating and little-considered internal mechanics of such an eclectic profession, the show instead concentrates on being a superficial ďfeel goodĒ character drama that never, ever allows viewers to really know exactly what any of the characters are thinking.

        Apart from some typically weak animation, Long Riders episode 10 is a typical, fine episode except for Ami patching a bike tire without removing the tire from the rear spoke. While technically doing so might be possible, I think the episode just goofed on that detail.

        Breezed through the first four "episodes" of Kochinpa 2. The visual gag in episode 4 is a bit amusing.

        I want to like Shuumatsu no Izetta more than I do because the narrative is so filled with arbitrary plot holes and terrible storytelling. In episode 7, previously Izetta knew a secret so well-guarded that her own countrymen didní't know for decades. Yet somehow the enemy Germans also know the secret. A vaguely explained reasoning is provided in the subsequent episode. Multiple times in the series Izetta is shown levitating in place, yet during multiple dogfights the show arbitrarily restricts her to the same aerodynamics and principles that apply to airplanes, in order to generate artificial tension. Conventional airplanes should be no match for Izetta because sheís exponentially more maneuverable in the air, yet the show conveniently forgets that fact every time it needs to create a tense air battle. Episode 8 introduces a new, revised explanation for the basement under the old castle Ė an explanation that doesn'ít make any sense because itís based on ďthe publicĒ knowing information thatís supposedly never been known publicly. And one of episode 8'ís two cliffhanger reveals is yet another plot twist that appears completely out of left-field and then never gets addressed again. Itís a plot twist that doesnít make sense in context. Itís only there because the poorly thought-out plot needs it to happen. In episode 9 Princess Fine suddenly wants the Germanian empire destroyed, so that it can no longer threaten Europe, but from the outset of the series, that was never even a viable option; all she was previously after was simply to keep her country independent. The bullsh*t continues to emerge in episode 10 when more major retroactive plot developments get revealed. The whole show is based on out-of-nowhere plot twists that may or may not get explained retroactively. And the final episode is absolutely terrible because it takes the easy way out then doesn'ít even commit to that. Spoilers follow.

        Finished off Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume 4-12. On a side note, I'm bothered by the continuity error of Agari's racket magically changing from arrow designs to conventional green & red in episode 5.

        Watched the first episode of the Girlfriend (Onpu) web anime mini-series.

        Watched the minute-long first episode of this year's Tama & Friends: Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?

        The Pitanko! Nekozakana childrenís anime series was so bizarre that I ended up watching the first three short episodes. Itís a show about a cat that catches and tries to eat a fish, but instead the fish eats the cat. So the cat begins wearing the fish like a cosplay outfit, and the two animals become best friends calling themselves ďneko sakana.Ē When ďcombined,Ē the cat can breathe underwater like a fish, and the fish can climb trees like a cat.

        Watched the first episode of 100% Pascal-sensei. It's another in a long line of children's classroom comedy shows. It's pretty predictable because even in untranslated Japanese I predicted the episode's gag in advance.

        Watched a couple minute-long episodes of Coco & Nico.

        I appreciate the mostly traditional 2D animation of Duel Master VSRF and really appreciate the first episode's retro-style visual gags, but I wish the show included more of them. But alas the show is ultimately a typical card battle anime.

        Continued in next post.
        Last edited by John; December 28th, 2016, 01:50 PM.


        • Continued from above.

          Read the second issue of Doctor Aphra. Now itís clear that sheís distinctly the young female Indiana Jones of the Star Wars universe because her solo stories consistently have a degree of cynical levity thatís not typical of any other Star Wars character apart from the unintentional hilarity of Jar Jar Binks and ewoks. The third issue of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank is very much like the prior two. Itís snappy and referential but a bit slow to advance the narrative. Black Hammer has been a consistent pleasure depicting a melancholy, nearly morbid, homage of golden age superhero teams. Issue 6 slightly varies the formula by introducing grim homage to EC horror comics and Swamp Thing while also introducing a shockingly unexpected cliffhanger. Writer Scott Snyderís A.D. After Death volume 1 reads very much like contemplative personal fiction comingled with speculative sci-fi. The writing is impressively detail-oriented, but Iím not sure that I like it for two reasons. If I want to read this style of biographical fiction Iíd prefer to just read a conventional novel so I have a better sense of exactly what Iím getting into, leading to the second obstacle, that the first double-sized comic provides little sense of context and meaning. If this was an ongoing series, Iím not sure Iíd commit to subsequent issues. But seeing as this will be only 3 issues, I may give it a chance.

          Watched the Steelers come back in the end to beat the Bengals, and the Patriots beat the Broncos. Disappointed but not surprised to see the Bucs lose to the Cowboys. Watched the Eagles beat the Giants. Watched the Dolphins beat the Bills in overtime, the Saints beat the Bucs, and Texans beat the Bengals. On Christmas, watched the Steelers beat the Ravens by the narrowest of margins, and the Chiefs literally humiliate the Broncos. After a close first half, watched the Cowboys pull away from and defeat the Lions.


          • Watched Flip Flappers episodes 4-7.

            Watched the Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis Short Story 1.

            The KochiKame Final special certainly isn't for viewers looking for eclectic, sophisticated art. It's lowbrow, mainstream slapstick Japanese humor. But it's also easy to follow, silly, and fun, sort of like a Japanese parallel to The Simpsons.

            As a promotional tool, Studio Kharaís short Gravity Daze Ouverture anime is a commendable project. As an anime, itís somewhat lacking. Characterizations are one-dimensional, but the limited characterizations are forgivable because the anime is too short and too focused to allow time for the depiction of significant, personality altering events. The bigger obvious problem is the shortís character rendering. The anime attempts to match its character rendering to the Gravity Daze 2 game itís promoting, but even the game appears to use more light shading on its characters than the anime does. As a result, the anime characters donít look natural or even complete, particularly when their surroundings do exhibit so much texture and variation of coloring. The animation is smooth and inventive, and the background design attractive, all of which nearly compensates for the distracting character graphics.

            Watched the "Robot on the Road," "Iconic Field," "On a Gloomy Night," "Rapid Rouge," and "Conte Hitman 1989" Japan Animator Expo shorts.

            Girlish Number episode 12 is a fine wrap-up. It's nice to see Chitose finally recognize & admit that she's a bit of a spoiled snot, and that if she's not willing to put forth her best effort, no one else is going to do it for her.

            Part of the pleasure of the Strike Witches franchise is that itís typically it exhibits just a little bit of intelligence, dignity, and restraint, making it a bit better than the viewerís instinctive low expectations. However, regrettably the final episode of Brave Witches does decline into a bit of obligatory stupidity in order to set up the scenario for its predictable climax. Thankfully good production values help compensate a bit for the weakness in the narrative.

            Seitokai Yakuindomo is always amusing, but certain episodes are funnier than others. The most recently released sixth OAD is one of the better episodes.

            Watched Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru episodes 10-12.

            Finished off Bernard-jou Iwaku episodes 6-12.

            Finished off Kaiju Musume episodes 11 & 12.

            The first episode of Fate: Grand Order declines from average into nonsensical crap rather quickly. The gang of potential masters each has an individual teleportation tube, but evidently the teleportation tubes arenít even necessary at all. Why is the research facility full of technicians if the teleportation process will evidently run entirely self-automated anyway? The computer system says that the light of Chaldeas is going out, yet the glowing Chaldeas ball is depicted as glowing more brightly than it ever has previously in the episode. Itís not physically possible for skeletons to change their jumping momentum in mid-air. How do holographic radio signals travel in real-time through more than a decade of time? How does Chaldeasí artificially created servant summon itself, and how does Olga not know what the servant her own organization created is? Then the episode expects viewers to believe that the two protagonists who couldnít even defeat the first boss on their own is going to face and defeat seven more powerful future antagonists? The magic battles in this special were enjoyable, but the surrounding episode was quite bad.

            The Eiyuu Kaitai OVA has moderately unique-looking character design and a vaguely Tenchi Muyo-esque tone and feel. But in untranslated Japanese it's just not very interesting.

            Watched the first episode of 1987's Maple Town Monogatari: Palm Town Hen. The show's artistic design is unmistakably '80s. The show is also adorably cute.

            The first episode of Chou Shounen Tanteidan Neo is silly fun.

            The Baki OAD is best described as a 15 minute long trailer, as it entirely consists of isolated shots and brief scenes rather than a coherent story. It's basically just a "sizzle" reel for the later half of the manga.

            Supposedly the first episode of Takashi Murakamiís magical girl anime 6HP was going to be broadcast in an incomplete form. Either that announcement was incorrect or the episode hides its flaws very well. The first few minutes of the first episode does utilize primitive, child-like animation, but it seems to be intentional, for effect. The bulk of the episode is especially animated, featuring an art design that seemingly indebted to Heartcatch Precure and, at the same time, uniquely original. If thereís a down side to the first episode, itís that nothing exciting occurs in the first episode.

            Watched Nobunaga no Shinobi episodes 10-14.

            The first episode of Ai Mai Me ~Surgical Friends~ is the beginning of the third season of the Choboraunyopomi Gekijou Ai Mai Mii gag anime series, and it has nothing at all to do with surgery.

            When I realized a close friend had never seen Blade Runner, I watched the film again with him. With this same friend, I also went out to see Rogue One for a second time.


            • Finished off WWW,Working episodes 7-13. I still think the show is the weakest of the Working/Servant x Service/Web-ban Working anime trilogy.

              The first episode of Urara Meirochou is colorful, lively, fun, and extremely moť.

              The first episode of Akiba's Trip is a very odd creature. Its visual design and tone distinctly feel like a 90ís revival anime. The concept of the action revolving around stripping cute girls is very reminiscent of 1997ís Elf o Karu Monotachi. The websites glimpsed briefly in the show resemble older Japanese sites. The protagonist uses a vintage radio phone. But the visual design of Akihabara reflects the post-2014 Radio Kaikan renovation. The animation is by Gonzo, but it looks and feels more comparable to the kinetic, fluid, and super-detailed animation of vintage Gainax. The first episode has a very kinetic, energetic tone that feels like a more focused and purposeful sibling to 2015ís Punch Line.

              Iíve been eagerly anticipating Youjo Senki since the first trailer hit last fall. The first episode is a bit light on characterization, but presuming that the storytelling deepens, the first episode is already more grim, serious, and simply more interesting than the thematically similar but disappointing Shuumatsu no Izetta.

              The first episode of Schoolgirl Strikers has attractive art design and boasts occasional moments of exceptional animation quality. But its story feels absolutely derivative. Every single aspect of the show can be traced back to some other earlier anime. The show is so paint-by-numbers simplistic that it doesnít feel like it has any viable reason to exist. Itís not bad; itís just entirely void of personality and individuality.

              Judging by its first episode, Spiritpact may be this seasonís Hitori no Shita. Character design for primary characters is just barely passable. Character design for supporting characters and background design is bad. The animation quality is sub-par. But unlike Hitori no Shita, which took itself very seriously, at least Spiritpact knows that itís production values are crappy and includes plenty of sight gags that play up the showís inferior art design.

              I approached the first episode of the Onihei anime adaptation with a very limited awareness of its prior live-action TV and movie adaptations. Iíd thought that the franchise was comparable to Mito Komon, but itís actually a more conventional chambara police detective series. Given the nature of the source material, I suspect that this anime may be one targeted outside of the conventional otaku demographic because itís a solid drama but one lacking in virtually every characteristic that typical anime viewers are drawn to.

              The first episode of the Little Witch Academia TV series reveals itself as an expanded retelling of the OVAs, beginning at the very beginning of Atsukoís story. Thankfully all of the characteristics that made the two OVAs so appealing are in full effect in the TV series as well.

              I fully expected the Nyanko Days anime to feel very similar to the Yakimochi Caprice web anime; however, Nyanko Days doesnít quite play up its sweet adorableness as much as Yakimochi Caprice does, for better or worse.

              Watched the short first episode of Chiruran: Nibun no Ichi. Itís comparable to Hakuouki Otogisoushi.

              Kemono Friends was another of this seasonís new shows that I was looking forward to. The first episode is cute, but Iím a bit disappointed that itís animated with rather crappy MMD CG.

              The first episode of Fuuka is instantly recognizable as an adaptation of Koji Seo manga because it feels virtually like a remake of Suzuka or Kimi no Iru Machi. The show is appealing particularly to viewers that want a more ďrealisticĒ and grounded version of the romantic anime sub-genre starring kind-hearted milquetoast males including Tenchi Muyo, Love Hina, and Hand Maid Mai.

              New Lone Wolf & Cub volumes 9 & 10 are a bit more interesting because the conflicts in these two volumes are more individual and less broadly political.

              Read the first two volumes of Wolfsmund. After getting over the initial shock that the story is a cruel-hearted one that's raison d'etre is simply to kill every character that it possibly can.

              Monstress issue 9 doesn't quite provide the over-the-top explosion of violence that the prior issue promised, but the issue is still highly rewarding with deep, fascinating new character development, the introduction of new characters, and Kippa's status steadily increasing.

              Watched the interesting HPL documentary Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. Since I not only read Lovecraft's writing extensively in my high school & college years, I also read several books about him. So the documentary didn't tell me much I didn't know, but the even-handed and rational yet reverential attitude of the documentary is appealing.


              • Weíve seen fallen angel comedy anime before, including Happy World, and Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan, but I canít think of any anime quite like Gabriel DropOut. The closest parallels could be both Pita-Ten and Hataraku Maou-sama, but Gabriel DropOut isnít especially similar to either of those shows, either. So itís pleasantly original, and while itís humor is particularly reminiscent of Kill Me Baby, it still feels quite fun.

                On one hand I appreciate that the first episode of Demi-chan wa Kataritai doesnít feel like a clone of either Tokimeki Tonight or Karin or of Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou. If anything, itís a mild-mannered cousin to RosaVamp. However, itís so mild-mannered that it simply lacks the vibrancy or wit of other more interesting school-life bishoujo anime.

                The first episode of Masamune-kun no Revenge simply strikes me as unpleasant and just a bit stupid. Itís a rom-com about two ultra-narcissistic, mean-spirited teens that passive-aggressively antagonize each other until they eventually fall in love. In other words, itís a story that tries to make viewers like and care about protagonists with unpleasant, shallow personalities. The art design looks nice, and the production values are fine. I just canít enjoy the story at all. And on a side note, scissors donít work that way. A pair of closed scissors that donít pierce donít draw blood.

                Iím very conflicted over the first episode of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen. I really enjoy the showís depiction of rakugo and even more its philosophical discussion about the nature and purpose of storytelling. However, particularly in this episode, those elements are a lesser portion of the episode than the domestic drama, which I find a bit bland and uninteresting in this particular series.

                In virtually every regard, Seiren is a clone of Amagami. The small difference is that Seiren has a minor undercurrent that surfaces occasionally thatís just a bit more crude and cynical, or one could say more realistic, than the idealized and prim Amagami.

                After 60 years without a single anime about girls cycling, suddenly we have two airing within the same season. Excluding some gorgeous background art, however, the first episode of Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu feels highly average. Itís not bad, but nothing about it is especially appealing, either.

                Iíll credit the oddly spelled ďelDLIVEĒ (L-Drive) for being unique. While it does have some minor parallels to other earlier anime, in summation the story is unlike any other anime. However, itís a shounen adventure for a younger audience, and it simply doesnít appeal much to me.

                Idol Jihen appears to have the underlying foundation for an amusing political satire, but the show clearly still wants to be a popular, mainstream idol anime although its idol anime components offer nothing new to viewers.

                The first episode of Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen reconfirms my impression that the Ao no Exorcist franchise is in the vein of shounen series such as D.Gray-man and Owari no Seraph that prioritize drama and conflict between characters on the same side over strong character or narrative development or action. Certainly, thereís an audience for these types of stories, but I donít particularly enjoy them.

                The first episode of Reikenzan: Eichi e no Shikaku abandons all of the lighthearted humor and tone of the first series for a darker and more serious tone. But the low budget art design and animation are still present. The first episode is a bit slow with even the bloody climactic fight scene being rather unimpressive.

                Natsume Ono's distinctive lanky character design is relatively obvious in ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka, although Madhouseís anime adaptation imbues the character design with a bit of a deco influence reminiscent of Heart Cocktail. The seriesí first episode is unusual because itís intriguing because its scenario and tone are so unlike other anime. But in terms of characterization and narrative, the episode doesnít actually offer up much of substance. So Iím ultimately undecided on my reaction to this first episode.

                The first episode of YowaPedal New Generation is fine except that its episode-ending cliffhanger has Onda-kun seemingly not recognizing any difference between climbers, sprinters, and distance cyclers.

                Good Lord, I anticipated that Spiritpact would have to be the weakest entry in this seasonís new anime. And I certainly wouldnít have expected a rival from the same studio that produced K. But GoHandsí Hand Shakers is an abomination. The show is rendered with an experimental full CG that appears to have a single minor benefit. The full CG allows for a lot of background animation. But lots of movement in the background is irrelevant when the entire visual design is so garishly ugly. Even by anime standards, proportions are periodically wrong, and character designs look unfinished instead of stylized. The storytelling is the worst combination of heavy-handed and artificial. And tonally the show makes no sense because it seems to want to be a shounen adventure, yet it also prominently emphasizes a B&D fetish thatís much too provocative for the surrounding material. This may actually be one of the worst professional anime productions Iíve ever encountered.

                The short first episode of Piace: Watashi no Italian merely introduces the major characters and setting without getting into the specifics that will presumably characterize the show. The art design is a bit simplistic and amateurish, but itís sufficient for a show with such short episodes.

                The humor of KonoSuba 2 picks up exactly where the prior series ended, but unfortunately the detail in the character designs has declined a bit.

                The first person perspective of One Room is unusual but not exactly groundbreaking. The fact that this is anime and not a video game means that One Room has zero interactivity, which makes is a bit more creepy, a bit more of a sad substitute for real-life social interaction than even the Isshoni Training anime, which was also first person perspective but at least encouraged a degree of actual, real-life interaction.

                The Chaos;Head sequel Chaos;Child is what I consider the weakest type of shock value anime. Unlike series such as Shigurui and Elfen Lied that have strong stories and dense atmosphere, Chaos;Child seems to be built around contextualizing grotesque violence instead of using grotesque violence to propel its story. The extra-long first episode has no evocative atmosphere at all. Takuru and his friends appear to have no compelling reason to investigate the serial killings apart from the story needing them to do so.

                Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon feels exactly like a subdued sibling to Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san. The emphasis on destructive and ditzy female monster creatures hung up on an average, cynical human are the same for both series. But Kobayashiís Dragon Maid is a bit more moderate and ďnormalĒ compared to Muromiís hyperactive energy. The show is quite enjoyable.

                Watched Nobunaga no Shinobi episode 15.

                Watched Urara Meirochou episode 2.

                The second episode of Yojou Senki delivers the characterization that was desperately missing in the first episode.

                Marginal#4: Kiss kara Tsukuru Big Bang is yet another boy idol group anime. I call it ďyet another,Ē because thereís little to set it apart from numerous other similar shows. Judging by the first episode, the ďuniqueĒ aspect of this iteration is that it will focus more attention on the idol singerís high school lives. The showís production values are fine, but certain story elements seem weak. Why a pop group would name itself ďmarginalĒ seems inexplicable. Furthermore, Nomura R describes himself as the group leader, but throughout the episode he comes across entirely as a follower instead of a leader.

                Watched the first two episodes of Sherlock season 4. Thankfully, these two episodes are better than the previous ďRunaway BrideĒ special. However, they feel like they amplify the showís already pretentious, obtuse structure and emphasis on angst.

                Agents of Shield season 4 episode 9 is fun, but it also stumbles over itself somewhat stupidly in its effort to introduce surprise plot twists.

                Caught the last quarter of the Falcons win over the Seahawks. Watched the Patriots defeat the Texans.


                • Kuzu no Honkai doesnít suggest that itís going to turn violent, but otherwise it feels like a spiritual cousin to Aku no Hana probably because itís the first dysfunctional romance psychology anime since Aku no Hana. At first, the scenario seems ridiculous and unbelievable, but the first episodeís storytelling does a remarkable job of making the scenario plausible. The episode is also striking because itís so much more sensual than any other anime in recent memory.

                  While Akihabara's Trip episode 2 wasn't bad, it is a bit more conventional and less spectacular than the first episode. The girls make a good MOSAIC.WAV style unit in episode 3.

                  I respect the fact that the cats in Nyanko Days episode 2 act like cats, but I'd like the show even more if the cats more thoroughly and consistently acted like cats instead of periodically exhibiting human behaviors.

                  I donít particularly like Super Lovers, not only because Iím not a big enthusiast of bishounen and yaoi but also because the storytelling feels so forced. Granted, the core drama of the first episode of Super Lovers 2 is the idea that the characters treat each other like family yet still donít fully trust or communicate with each other, but the conflict feels like one that could easily be solved if someone just behaved like an adult and had an honest conversation. Then the episode making a joke out of incestuous homosexual statutory rape doesnít feel quirky or sexy to me. It feels creepy and immoral to me because itís a literal example of an adult who should know better taking advantage of a child.

                  Iíve never had a problem with the production quality of the Yami Shibai series. The major weakness that I see in the series, which is again evident in the first episode of season four, is that the short horror stories just arenít good. Theyíre consistently always either underdeveloped or poorly told.

                  Little Witch Academia episode 2 is excellent because it deftly creates a lot of characterization and character development without being heavy handed.

                  Watched the first episode of Sengoku Choujuu Giga ~Otsu~.

                  Dragon Ball Super episodes 73 & 74 are very good because they emphasize characterization and remind us of why we love these characters so much. However, on a side note, when did Videl learn to fly? I know some humans, like Kuririn and Ten Shin Han can fly, but I donít recollect Videl ever being able to do it.

                  Watched Aggressive Retsuko 33-40. Episode 39 is an especially good one.

                  Rilu Rilu Fairlu episode 31 is a mostly a recap episode, but I like the way it gives new emphasis to Kingyo-sensei and Anchusha, who are both complex characters in an ostensibly simple children's anime. Also watched episode 32.

                  Watched Nobunaga no Shinobi episode 16.

                  Watched Crayon Shin-chan Gaiden episodes 10-13. The series does wrap everything up and explain everything, except in the final episode the ship is supposed to use the explosion as energy, yet it doesn't.

                  Kobayashi's Dragon Maid episode 2 is cute and very fun.

                  Once again, KonoSuba 2 episode 2 looks sort of bad but compensates by being goofy fun.

                  I thought the first episode of Piace was middling. The second episode is even weaker because it feels very disjointed.

                  Watched the second episode of ACCA.

                  Two clues in Yojou Senki episode 3 reveal that a lot of care is being invested into the creation of this series. The obvious clue is the new episode- exclusive ending animation. The second detail is the amazing but small animation detail that when wind blows Tanyaís hair across her eyes, the hair momentarily blocks the light reflection in her pupils.

                  Urara Meirochou episode 3 is fine, but as I feared would happen, the episode briefly introduced the "we're rivals" cliche that's typical of the genre but doesn't actually apply to this particular series' scenario.

                  Watched the Packers win an final second amazing victory over the Cowboys, and the Steelers beat the Chiefs.
                  Last edited by John; January 20th, 2017, 08:41 PM.